Friday, October 12, 2007

A new begining

Eid has finally dawned on us, after a tiring and eventful Ramadan. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody out there a Happy Eid to them and their families, asking Allah to bring upon you prosperity, good health, prosperity and success.

كل عام وانتم بخير

The way it is....
Capt. Arab 12/10/2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mental BS

How convenient it is to claim to be mentally insane, mentally unbalanced, mentally ill, (or any other phrase that has the same meaning); when we do wrong to others.

Shame on the lawyers that use it as their line of defense, cheap tactics to evade prison and the long arm of the law.

Our “mentally ill” friend here schemed and planned his mission out well, it was not a spur of the moment event, or something that he always did and was not aware of. This was a plot, executed in a timely fashion to achieve sexual satisfaction. Buddy.. Who did you think you’d fool?

In my books there is nothing more worse than capitalizing on a child’s innocence for self gain. This is just one story, and I am sure that we have all heard and read of so many similar sick perverted twisted stories that make your stomach churn out of disgust.

Unfotunately... The way it is....
Capt. Arab 9/10/2007

Terror Film (The Kingdom) banned? Get realistic !!!

It's all over the papers, our Ministry of Information has banned the film "The Kingdom" from being released in Bahrain. Why?? Apparently the film covers some of the recent terrorist acts that took place in Saudi Arabia some time back.

According to the reviews the film does tend to be a typical American Hollywood production (guns and glory), but also looks at cultural differences on one hand, and on the other is a story (fictitious) that justifies itself in one form or another.

What are the chances that we will be able to get a decent copy from the DVD street hawks trading all over the Bab Al-Bahrain area (right outside the Ministry of Information Tourist Office) Opps... was I wasn't supposed to say that, Gudaibiya (Awal Cinema), or the Irani Market. For the fortunate ones, I guess can always download it from BITORRENT, Ares, You Tube and various other P2P sharing sites. Come on guys... It's 2007 The Age of Information, lets be realistic... Everything is accessible in one form or another. There are worst films which the Ministry allows to be released, that seriously do test the water and pose a big question on moral issues. Maybe such serious efforts should be spent to eradicate pornograpghy, prostitution, drugs, or even the DVD Street Hawks trading on the Minstry's doorstep.

By the way I forgot to mention that the lead star is Jamie Foxx.. It's bound to be a box-office hit, and find it's way to our home projectors sooner or later.

The way it is....
Capt. Arab 9/10/2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Are you kidding me ??

News in the BBC that for the past 6 months this 11 year old apparently used to drop his disabled dad off to hospital for appointments, and his mum to her job at Burger King.

An 11-year-old boy and his parents have been arrested after he fled Louisiana police in a car chase at speeds of more than 100mph (160km/h), it is reported.
The child's mother and father have been accused of letting him drive for about six months, the Associated Press said.
The pursuit began when a patrol car spotted the boy's car speeding on Interstate 310 near New Orleans.
Police gave chase but the car sped away, only stopping at a Burger King restaurant where his mother worked.
The boy had been driving home from a hospital where he had dropped off his disabled father for an appointment when the chase began, police told AP.
His parents have been charged with the improper supervision of a minor and allowing an unlicensed minor to drive - something authorities said had been going on for six months.
The boy was reportedly released to the custody of an aunt after being arrested for fleeing from an officer, reckless driving, speeding, passing on the shoulder, improper lane usage and having no driver's licence.

I remember driving a car when I was 13 years old, the average park the car in the garage, or reverse out, etc.. But nothing of this magnitude.. Frightening is the word for the moment. Any chance that this kid is an Arab, as we always seem to have the ambition to drive cars well before our time.

The way it is...
Capt. Arab 7/10/2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

University of Pune vs Al Wefaq National Islamic Society

Today's GDN "200 Face Expulsion" from the University of Pune, in brief some 200 students will be fined no less $200 US Dollars in respect of overstaying their visa's. On the other hand we have the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, demanding to know the four W's... Why, Where, What, and Who. The case appears to be simple and as reported, a case where an immigration law has been broken and a fine is necessary.

Why do I always get the impression that the majority of us tend to break the law, overrun the landing strip and then expect others to understand. This is 2007, and it is due time we all wake up and understand that the law is the law. Just because you are being fined through self-inflicted sloppiness, we expect intervention and help from others. No Sir !!!!

As for Al-Wefaq, sorry to say that I fail to see the effectiveness of their intervention. Will they attempt to convince the Indian Immigration Authorities to waive this fine, or the University Student Office to cut the Bahraini students a bit of slack because it's Ramadan. The best way to learn is when you get a wrist slap from the law, the law has clearly been broken and there is nothing more to it... Shouldn't our Foreign and Education Ministries be advising students on the Do's and Dont's, or am I just babbling... The same way that you safeguard your passport, ID cards, credit cards and credentials; then it is just essential that you ensure that they are validated accordingly. Or maybe just because it is India, you think that the law can be broken and ultimately you will get away with it.

In simpler terms... University of Pune [1 - 0] Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society

The way it is.....
Capt. Arab 4/10/2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm back...

Been away (not in jail) for a good few weeks, actually was on a business trip which always seem to happen at the worst of times, and for the longest periods, and yes the hotel had internet, but the charges were quite silly and guess what.... A DIALUP. I actually miss that squelching sound of the hand-shaking between devices, reminds me of the Batelco days.
I will be posting more about my happenings in the next few days, that is once I get back into the swing of things.

A Ramadan Kareem to all...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lollipop Man

To me the Lollipop man has always been associated with the zebra crossing. The Lollipop man wore his bright yellow and orange luminous jacket, and held his “STOP” sign, like a gigantic lollipop whilst he guided pedestrians across the busy road.

One thing I’m sure of, all if not the majority of readers will agree that in Bahrain there is totally no regard for the zebra crossing or pedestrians in general. Most drivers will actually see a pedestrian standing at the zebra crossing waiting to cross (obviously), and still even if traffic is slow, will actually make no effort to stop to allow the crossing. Funny enough, some will actually try to tip-toe their car over the crossing just to avoid allowing the pedestrian to cross. I mean, What the hell is this… How long will you get delayed? A couple of seconds…. Wawwww… Sorry for interrupting your busy schedule.

From living in the UK, you tend to learn some driving ethics, just as thanking somebody when given a pass or opportunity to slip in, makes a big difference for all. Stuff like indicating, lets others know your next course of action, over-taking in the right manner is safe driving. I once parked near a zebra crossing, and got fined 40 pounds, and got 3 points on my driving license for blocking the pedestrians view whilst crossing. At the time being a rebel, I didn’t appreciate the concept that much, but over the years I have learnt that sometimes if you give, you can take and ultimately reach home in one piece, with a smile plastered on your face. Nobody can ever imagine the thought of running somebody over, when you actually had a chance to help them cross safely. I mean, Who could sleep knowing that he was indirectly involved in somebody’s death. It’s a feeling that I wish it upon nobody.

Would it be wishful thinking to hope that our Traffic Directorate would one day actually implement some form of system, where violators are penalized and fined. Maybe one day when the actual traffic warden stops somebody for having an infant in the front seat, without any seatbelts… (seatbelts already buckled but from behind the seat), I guess that will be the day. The cost is easily justified by fines, and awareness is made public. When people get their wallets pinched, trust me… The word travels like wild fire.. Until then, drive safe and give others a chance, and remember that pedestrians have rights on the road too !!!

The way it is….
26/8/2007 Capt. Arab

Hizbollah's Game

The controversial Hizbollah game has received various reviews being positive from the supporters, Islamists; and negative reviews from the moderate conservative. The situation has reached the on-line petition stage as per the GDN today.

To properly analyze the situation, a review of the background “is a must” to be able to reach an understanding and ultimately a conclusion. If you ask me, there is just too much hype surrounding the whole deal. The game just like any other computer game of the same caliber is the after-sales complimenting a movie, modern day war, an event and so on… No one disagrees (even the Israeli government) with the unexpected battering by Hizbollah. The game is even reviewed by on-line magazines; take PC-World and Digital Battle (to name a few).

Remember 1991 the Coalition Forces with their Desert Storm, games such as Desert Storm 1 and 2 made huge success in the computer games industry. Films such as Rambo, Die Hard, Navy Seals, Get Away and Auto-Grand Theft Series (just to name a few) have been undoubtedly popular amongst the younger and older gamers. These games display an undeniable amount of profound foul language, teaches violence, knowledge of weapons and their capabilities, and finally it allows you to splatter your opponent through graphic images.

These games by law have the obvious warnings and ratings displayed to advice parents prior to purchase. Unfortunately, these warnings are not taken seriously in our part of the world. Youngsters can purchase violent games, and rent and buy pirated DVD’s without a word of caution or advice from the seller.

If a campaign is to be started to activate proper regulation of the above (all games), then I am definitely game, otherwise we are wasting our time and energy, as all that hot air will take us nowhere. What will ultimately happen is that some will consider this action as being one-sided; i.e. just because the game is a Hizbollah (Shia) product, and believe me that this could turn out into a compounded issue that has no answer, we will end up with another Sunni/Shia issue that has no beginning or end.

On the other hand, if banned and to be realistic we all know what will happen… Just like everything else the game (cracked version) will be downloaded off the internet, and distributed like-wise through illegal and unregulated trading.

The funny side to all this is that the Israeli’s have not reacted the way we have, and I have the tendency to believe that they accept criticism or just prefer to ignore the whole issue as being trivial. Arabs are portrayed as terrorists, just as Blacks are portrayed as criminals, and it’s a stereotype.

It’s high time the Ministry of Information did their job more professionally, by implementing strict guidelines and regulations on the purchase of all violent games, films, and other materials/products where a parent is held responsible to decide, rather than a teenager who knows no better. If you live in a glass house, you better not throw stones.

The way it is…..
26/8/2007 Capt. Arab

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gulf Air black-listed

Due to the nature of my business, for the last 15 years I have always been a frequent traveler especially within the GCC. Since 2001 Gulf Air has always held the # 1 spot on my black-list for being the worst airline to fly with (within GCC).

Don’t get me wrong, Gulf Air on the long-haul flights are pretty good, competitive in service and price, and have won awards on an international level. From time to time, at least twice a year I fly the BAH-LHR route and no complaints, except the odd late take-off which is always blamed on the ATC (Air Traffic Control).

My frustration comes on the regional routes between the GCC states. The reason why I refuse to use GF is because they always mess up my schedule on both inward and outward journeys. Some of the typical mishaps:

  • late take-off
  • over-booking
  • wrong seating allocation
  • old aircraft
  • unfriendly crew member (only to Asian passengers in economy)
  • price
  • duty-free items not being available

We all know that Gulf Air is going through a management phase, you could compare it to adolescence. There is confusion all over, alleged corruption, embezzlement, high turnover of staff, cut-backs, complaints, and the media has had the spot-light of our national carrier for past few weeks.

My last trip to Dubai was arranged by a client, and due to the last-minute decisions, I had to get there faster than ASAP.. My Alternatives???
Air Arabia (lands in Sharjah, and I just didn't have the time to do the Sharjah to Dubai journey)
Emirates (full flight, besides I needed a late flight back)
Other airlines did the home-base transit as a must (inconvenient for me)

Well Guess what… the only option was Gulf Air, the ticket cost BD93, and I had no other choice but for once to take Gulf Air off my list and give them another try. The result was not impressive, on both the outward/inward flights, my findings:

Outward (BAH-DXB)

  1. We were boarded on board 10 minutes before the scheduled departure.
  2. Sat on the flight for 25 minutes before take-off.
  3. Besides the refurbishment of the old plane (new carpet/seat covers), it was still tatty and everything has that broken look to it (typical wear and tear).
  4. The food tray lock was worn and kept releasing the tray (from vibration).
  5. The flight attendant mentioned Abu-Dhabi rather than Dubai as our destination.
  6. The in-flight refreshments improved from a small box to a medium sized box full of goodies (rock hard roll, cold hummos, fruit salad literally frozen and a little cup of water). As a matter of fact, food is not a rating factor on short flights (less than an 90 minutes) for me. By the way the stewards had difficulty collecting and storing food boxes in their trolley (obviously a flaw in the box design).
  7. The majority of passengers came from Asia, yet no one could speak their languages. The announced languages on board were Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Tagalog. I did look around, but no looked like they could speak any European languages.
  8. The takeoff made the plane rattle with vibrations, landing the beast was like the wild west rodeo.. yeeee-haaaa !!!!

Inward (DXB-BAH)

  1. All the above points, plus..
  2. Air-conditioning was terrible, on and off warm air before the actually push-back. A good 45 minutes was spent sweating on board. Mind you, GF did bribe us with a cold can of sprite.

I still refuse to travel on Gulf-Air for the time being until they decide to improve their services to be competitive in service, and in price. I remember Gulf Air in the 80’s as being the bird in the sky, the Golden Falcon that could spread it's wings. What has happened? Smaller and new regional airlines are emerging fast and are capitalizing on Gulf Air’s incompetence to hold on a market she has created. Gulf Air should not forget that the Gulf sector has and will always be a good source of revenue for them, it’s time she (GF) got this mess properly addressed and sorted out permanently in a proper and logical manner, it has been lingering for far too long.

I always remember my friend (who loves creating acronyms/abbreviations out of names), when I asked what GULF AIR stands for..

He replied “Get Used-to Late Flights Always In Repair”.

Have fabulous and wonderful a nice weekend (I know I will).

That's the way it is…
23/8/2007 Capt. Arab